The four actions offered for local implementation were:
- Make a smart mobile trip: encourage senior citizens organisations to go on foot, by bike or use public transport when organising a group trip;
- Test the bus in a buddy system: setting up a 'test the bus’- programme where skilled bus users accompany lesser skilled bus users in the same municipality on how to use the bus;
- Short trip contract (under 5 kilometres): members of senior citizens organisations engage themselves to walk, cycle or use public transport more during one month signing a short trip contract; In this project it was found that not environment but health was the most important motivator
- Policy recommendations: Mobiel 21 supports senior citizens organisations in participating in their local mobility policy.
In total, actions were started up in 12 Flemish municipalities.
The project approach is built from an NGO perspective with the aim is to promote sustainable transport. Mobiel21, as NGO, is facilitating the process, by trying to convince people, not by forcing them to change. Projects are implemented in partnerships with senior organisations, municipalities and companies. The project is all about communication and works towards a sustainable change by applying the so-called “4 E’s” approach:
- Enable: Guarantee basic mobility: In Flanders all citizens have access to Public Transport within 500 metres from their door
- Encourage: social price police (incentives): In Belgium all citizens above 65 get a free public transport pass. Even so, only 10% of the bus rides are made by older people while they represent 20% of the population.
- Exemplify: offer chances to test public transport
- Engage: working within own social networks
When offering chances to experience sustainable transport modes a step-by-step approach is needed. The first step is to have senior citizens themselves do a quick scan of the needs by taking questionnaires with other older people. The training programme then has to cover these needs. The trainers are older people themselves and are trained at the start of the project. Couples of trainer and trainee are formed. Since they are both older citizens they can be considered as peers. If needed, elements of the training are repeated.
When working with social networks of seniors, the first step is to recruit volunteers/local champs amongst local senior advisory board and to communicate transparently with them about the project. It is important to build a relationship based on mutual trust. Older citizens organisation normally have time to dedicate to the project and are open to peer group involvement.
Mobiel 21 produced a periodic newsletter to promote the project. If there was an interest from a municipally Mobiel21 got into contact with the local senior advisory council and tried to convince them to work on mobility.